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    Default 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    I recently noticed that the feat Headsman's Chop adds damage whether or not there's a damage roll, making it a pretty nice addition to a monk's flurry of blows. Headsman's Chop requires a prone target. While looking up all the fun ways to knock foes off their feet, I started to wonder -- how often is this going to work? Even if I go all-out and only pick powers that knock prone on a hit, are there lots of monsters that are immune or resistant to it (like dwarves are)? How many monsters will use immediate actions to get away after my knockdown but before my flurry?

    And on a related topic -- how bad do you think being prone is for PCs? Do many creatures have special abilities to take advantage of it? Do they tend to use powers that knock you prone in the first place?

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    Default Re: 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    In my experience, being prone is far wearker then in 3.5. The opponent just loses his standard action to stand back up, he doesn't get opportunity attacks, and the bonus to attack rolls isn't that big, doesn't stack with flanking and so on.
    Last edited by Mystral; 2010-12-01 at 02:17 PM.
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    Default Re: 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    Headsman's Chop requires a prone target.
    It also requires an axe, which monks generally don't use. (edit) It also requires a hit. Flurry of blows and other forms of automatic damage are not a hit.

    are there lots of monsters that are immune or resistant to it (like dwarves are)? How many monsters will use immediate actions to get away after my knockdown but before my flurry?
    This will only happen very rarely.

    And on a related topic -- how bad do you think being prone is for PCs?
    Not very. The penalty on defense is minor, and doesn't stack with every other form of combat advantage (e.g. dazed, flanked). Non-melee characters can generally ignore it entirely, and melee characters can generally stand up as a minor action (there's a cheap item or power for it) and get on with their turn. It's probably the weakest condition after deafen and slow.
    Last edited by Kurald Galain; 2010-12-01 at 02:25 PM.
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    Default Re: 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    (Second question first)

    From what I've seen, prone is a fairly common status effect, balanced by the fact that, by itself, it's not really that amazing.

    Yes, it burns your move action to stand up, but that doesn't usually (again, by itself) hurt you much, unless you're out of charge range of an opponent and lack a ranged option.

    Also, unlike a lot of status conditions, taking advantage of someone being prone is somewhat tricky. This happened to me recently, as a matter of fact. I used a Fighter Power to knock a high-AC enemy prone, hoping that my party could take advantage of him being easier to hit.

    Unfortunately, I hadn't been paying attention to which monster acted on what initiative; as it happens, the monster went right after I did, so it...stood up and attacked like nothing had happened!

    Prone starts looking a lot better once you combine it with slow, daze, and forced movement. A high-level Sword-N-Board Fighter could push an enemy for some truly epic distances (10+ squares), knock them prone as part of the same power, and then slow them with Hindering Shield, leaving them unable to do much of, well, anything, on their next turn.

    Now as for Headsman's Chop, it's a very nice damage bonus, but again, taking advantage of it can be tricky. I'd generally take it only if you have another character in your party who routinely knocks enemies prone, and even then, there's that timing issue.

    Also, you'll have to keep track of that player's power list; you never know when he might decide to retrain some of his proning attacks!

    The best use I've come up with for Headsman's Chop so far is with my Ranger; I'll use a move like Strength of Earth to knock an enemy prone, use an Action Point, and then unload Blade Cascade.

    EDIT: Headman's Chop works with Heavy Blades as well as Axes.
    Last edited by tenshiakodo; 2010-12-01 at 02:27 PM.
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    Default Re: 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    Prone & Daze are two of my favorite Heroic Banes - and two great tastes that work great together

    Prone grants CA, imposes an attack penalty, and eats up a Move Action to resolve. Yes, some PCs will invest in an item or power to stand as a Minor Action but when they do that means you (as a DM) have forced them to spend resources on nullifying a particular effect. Good job!

    Monsters generally lack anti-Prone techniques and are particularly vulnerable to it. For one, it limits their mobility: if you have a Defender, monsters are going to want to get away from him ASAP; knocking them Prone deprives them either of an Attack or a Shift. Secondly, it debuffs their attacks and their defenses at the same time - dangerous when facing PCs of any build.

    Also: Some monsters gain advantages on Prone, others on CA. Like any risk in D&D, Prone is only as dangerous as your DM makes it. I'd say if you can make Headman's Chop work for you, go for it. If your DM starts throwing a lot of Prone-attacks at you, invest in anti-Prone techniques. And if your DM suddenly showers you with Prone-resistant monsters have a word with him - it's not cool to continually nerf someone's Build.

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    - Prone enemies adjacent to Defenders or Strikers with dangerous OA attacks.
    The most effective use of Prone is to force an enemy to choose between a Shift and no OA and a Move with OA. Either they lose an Attack or they risk an OA; in the right situation this can really make the DM sweat.

    - Prone Skirmishers and Lurkers (i.e. enemies that move around a lot).
    If an enemy needs its Move action to attack effectively, a Prone hits it where it hurts. Skirmishers and Lurkers usually need CA to do serious damage; making it harder for them to Flank is like slapping them with a Damaage Debuff.

    - Prone Dazed Enemies
    If a baddie is Dazed, slapping a Prone on them can be almost as good as a Stun. Either they use their action to stand up (to remove the CA they're granting) or they attack at a -2 and still grant CA.
    Last edited by Oracle_Hunter; 2010-12-01 at 02:42 PM.
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    Default Re: 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    Quote Originally Posted by tenshiakodo View Post
    EDIT: Headman's Chop works with Heavy Blades as well as Axes.
    Good point, but monks don't tend to use heavy blades, either.

    Anyway, Headman's Chop is best if multiple party members have it. Note that a wizard can drop a number of enemies prone with a level-1 encounter spell. Also, if enemies are prone, it helps to stand one square away from them (so they can't melee you but can't charge you either) but note that doing so means you can't headman chop them either.
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    Default Re: 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    Headsman's Chop can't be used with Flurry as it requires weapons and Flurry has no weapon keyword.
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    Default Re: 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Also, if enemies are prone, it helps to stand one square away from them (so they can't melee you but can't charge you either) but note that doing so means you can't headman chop them either.
    I don't have my books, but is headsman's chop restricted to adjacent enemies? If not, couldn't you get the bonus damage with a glaive or halberd and still stay one square away?

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    Default Re: 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaidu View Post
    I don't have my books, but is headsman's chop restricted to adjacent enemies? If not, couldn't you get the bonus damage with a glaive or halberd and still stay one square away?
    Yes, you could. Useful for polearm builds.
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    Default Re: 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    Some clarification

    Quote Originally Posted by Headman's Chop
    Whenever you hit a prone target with an axe or a heavy blade, the target takes 5 extra damage.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hit
    If the attack roll is higher than or equal to the defense score, the attack hits and deals damage, has a special effect, or both.
    Note that "Flurry of Blows" does not require an attack roll and therefore does not count as a "Hit" (or a "Miss" for that matter). So no, you can't deal Chop damage again with a Flurry.
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    Default Re: 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    Kurald and OracleHunter, thanks for the clarification about "hits". Everybody, thanks for chiming in. The shared experiences were just what I was looking for.

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    Default Re: 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    I recently noticed that the feat Headsman's Chop adds damage whether or not there's a damage roll, making it a pretty nice addition to a monk's flurry of blows. Headsman's Chop requires a prone target. While looking up all the fun ways to knock foes off their feet, I started to wonder -- how often is this going to work? Even if I go all-out and only pick powers that knock prone on a hit, are there lots of monsters that are immune or resistant to it (like dwarves are)? How many monsters will use immediate actions to get away after my knockdown but before my flurry?

    And on a related topic -- how bad do you think being prone is for PCs? Do many creatures have special abilities to take advantage of it? Do they tend to use powers that knock you prone in the first place?

    TIA
    I didn't read through all the responses, but I saw that Kurald took care of the important ones.

    He and I disagree on one fact though; I believe prone is a nasty condition if your group has a grasp of basic/advanced tactics (otherwise it's a fairly weak condition). It's about on par with the Dazed condition.

    Knock someone prone, step back 1 square. They have to stand up as a move action ... and then have no one to attack with their standard. If you've positioned yourself properly, they won't have anyone to attack. Awwh, poor bad guy doesn't get to make an attack? So sad. Or, yeah, the monsters could do it to you. /snicker. Man that pisses off my players when my monsters knock them prone then shift back a square. Sure, you can charge past him... and eat an OA.

    It's a fun condition and a nasty one.
    Last edited by tcrudisi; 2010-12-01 at 09:17 PM.
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    Default Re: 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    Also, Prone is good against flying creatures, but generally needs to be combined with ranged weapons or your own flight: you knock them down to the ground, letting all the melee guys beat the monster up. Flying monsters with area (close blast/burst or area burst), ranged, or long-reach melee attacks (DRAGONS, some immortals) generally fly just high enough that melee guys can't touch them.

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    Default Re: 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    Quote Originally Posted by tcrudisi View Post
    I didn't read through all the responses, but I saw that Kurald took care of the important ones.

    He and I disagree on one fact though; I believe prone is a nasty condition if your group has a grasp of basic/advanced tactics (otherwise it's a fairly weak condition). It's about on par with the Dazed condition.

    Knock someone prone, step back 1 square. They have to stand up as a move action ... and then have no one to attack with their standard. If you've positioned yourself properly, they won't have anyone to attack. Awwh, poor bad guy doesn't get to make an attack? So sad. Or, yeah, the monsters could do it to you. /snicker. Man that pisses off my players when my monsters knock them prone then shift back a square. Sure, you can charge past him... and eat an OA.

    It's a fun condition and a nasty one.
    I agree, Prone is quite nasty. It's amazing how much of a difference it makes if you can, for example, even make it last one round longer then normal.

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    Default Re: 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    Prone can really work out for you. I played a Barbarian with Headman's Chop and an Executioner Axe. Pair that with Oak Hammer Rage, where every attack knocks prone, and does Con Mod damage to prone targets, very nice. Also, having a Druid with Grasping Tides and the famous at our table "Prone Zone" helped. Charging a prone target? Very Nice.

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    Default Re: 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    Quote Originally Posted by gurban View Post
    Prone can really work out for you. I played a Barbarian with Headman's Chop and an Executioner Axe. Pair that with Oak Hammer Rage, where every attack knocks prone, and does Con Mod damage to prone targets, very nice. Also, having a Druid with Grasping Tides and the famous at our table "Prone Zone" helped. Charging a prone target? Very Nice.
    Hm, wield a gouge and take headsman's chop and surprising charge and get an extra brutal 1 2d6+5 out of charging a prone target. Of course, you need to either be in Dark Sun or have a DM that allows that particular weapon outside of DS.

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    Default Re: 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    I hadn't realized that weapon existed before. An Axe-Spear Mordenkrad? Nice.

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    Default Re: 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    Quote Originally Posted by tcrudisi View Post
    He and I disagree on one fact though; I believe prone is a nasty condition if your group has a grasp of basic/advanced tactics (otherwise it's a fairly weak condition). It's about on par with the Dazed condition.
    Well, there's a difference between how good prone is when used by the PCs, and how good it is when used by the monsters. PCs have more ways of taking advantage of prone, and also more ways of getting rid of prone should it bother them.
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    Default Re: 4e build question: how bad is "prone"?

    It is permissible and thematically appropriate for sufficiently strong opponents to carry functional magic items, though, so a villain for a prone-spam party could be wearing those oh-so-useful Acrobat Boots...

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